Maddon has Cubs wear pajamas on trip home

Maddon has Cubs wear pajamas on trip home

LOS ANGELES -- Kris Bryant found a Ninja Turtle onesie. Addison Russell has a bright green one. Starlin Castro was wearing a Mario Bros. pajama top and pants that match his son's. Dexter Fowler had a matching navy print top and bottom. A few players found camouflage-colored fleece onesies.

It's all part of Cubs manager Joe Maddon's "onesies" trip home. Players were encouraged to wear onesies or pajamas on the overnight flight from Los Angeles to Chicago Sunday night, and Maddon guessed he had 100 percent participation. Naturally, Maddon is prepared, too.

"I have a nice one -- 'I feel the need for sleep' is the theme," Maddon said of his onesie.

Sunday's night's star, pitcher Jake Arrieta, wore his mustache-graphics pajamas to his postgame news conference following his no-hitter against the Dodgers in the Cubs' 2-0 win.

Jason Hammel and James Russell both had camoflauge-colored fleece one-piece PJ's, and Travis Wood also went camo, but his had a back flap that warned he was "buck naked." Justin Grimm's girlfriend found a shark onesie, complete with teeth, although the first one they ordered was a woman's size and he had to return it.

Anthony Rizzo apparently wore his one night on the road trip to San Francisco and Los Angeles because his hotel room was so cold.

Was it tough for the 6-foot-5 Bryant to find his size?

"Yes -- this was a 2X and it fits me perfectly," Bryant said.

The Cubs do not have a dress code for the road other than no holes in the jeans.

"This is fun," Bryant said. "For me growing up, you always thought baseball players, suit and tie. We're people, too. In our job, we wear baseball uniforms. Other than that, it's kind of cool to goof around a little bit and be a kid again. Joe's kind of a big kid. It's cool to have him lead the way."

So far, Maddon has had a DJ perform in Spring Training, brought a magician to the clubhouse in New York, and cancelled batting practice during "American Legion" week.

"It's more to stay in the present and not get too caught up in the whole thing," Hammel said. "There's pressure in the situation we're in, and the playoffs are an important thing and you have to keep your head on straight. This is a fun side trip you can go on and have some fun with it and keep the nerves at bay, I guess.

"Plus, it's relaxing. I've never actually worn a onesie -- although I probably can't say that, because I did when I was younger. I've never worn one as an adult. I bet for a four-hour flight, it'll be pretty comfy."

Maddon did this with the Rays for a late flight from Anaheim to Baltimore. The Cubs headed into Sunday's game against the Dodgers having lost four in a row. Maybe they need to do something to lighten the mood?

"It works both ways," Maddon said. "If you won, it makes it better, and if you lost, it's, 'Lets put this behind us and move on.' I see it as a 'Win, win, win,' as [The Office's] Michael Scott would say."

Russell said he probably wouldn't sleep in his onesie because it's too warm, but he likes the idea.

"I heard all the antics that Joe has and how good of a guy Joe is, but just hearing him say [to wear pajamas] doesn't surprise me," Russell said. "He's fun and keeps us loose and keeps us smiling."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.